There are far more than 7 reasons whole foods are better for you than vitamins, however, since you’re not looking for a novel, today I’ll stick to 7! Whether obtained through food or taken in capsule form, your body needs vitamins to carry out normal function. Vitamins allow your body to digest and absorb your food for proper recovery, growth, energy and much more. There are 14 different known vitamins, all of which are essential for your body. Although you may be able to get 100 percent of your daily requirements for vitamins through a multivitamin, choosing whole foods will provide far more benefits. Here are 7 reasons whole foods are better for you than vitamins.
One of the first reasons whole foods are better for you than vitamins is that whole foods are complex, meaning they contain much more than just one vitamin! Whole foods supply your body with several different nutrients, all of which your body needs to function adequately. Although it is well know that oranges provide Vitamin C, they are also a great source of Vitamin A as well!
Another reason whole foods are better for you than popping a vitamin capsule is that whole foods contain fiber. Fiber is found only in plant-based foods and is indigestible by your body. Fiber does wonders for your health, such as help lower your cholesterol, stimulate your GI tract and reduce your risk of diabetes and some cancers too. While a multivitamin might be able to supply you with the vitamin, without the whole food, it cannot supply you with any of the beneficial fiber.
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemicals that are found in plants and have been suggested to aid in disease prevention. While research is still very young, phytochemicals may help protect you from many different diseases like cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. Since you cannot obtain phytochemicals through supplements, this is yet another reason why whole foods are better for you than multivitamins.
Although I wish we could trust everything we see on the market, many of the health benefits touted by supplement manufacturers are actually a far stretch of the imagination. Much of the research that backs these claims are from short-term, poorly designed studies, sponsored by the company that will benefit from the research. Unlike supplements, whole foods have been around for ages, therefore, we know what to consume and what to avoid. In fact, when taken as a supplement, some nutrients might actually be harmful to your health. One study found that when taken by men who drank alcohol, beta carotene (Vitamin A) actually increased their risk for prostate cancer.
I don’t know about you, but the food I eat tastes much better than any multivitamin I’ve ever tried – gummies included! Food is delicious so why not just get your vitamins through healthy food sources? Unless you avoid or cut out an entire food group, it is absolutely possible to obtain all of the nutrients that you need to through yummy tasting food!
6. Fewer Risks
Since dietary supplements do not have to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are sold, no evaluation for safety or effectiveness is required before they hit the market. The industry is required to evaluate the identity, purity, quality, strength and composition of dietary supplements, however, this lies in the hands of the manufacturers and not a reputable and credible source. Unlike supplements, food is regulated by the FDA and thus has to meet particular guidelines to remain on the shelf. Because of the lack of regulation, there are several risks that come along with popping a vitamin supplement over whole foods.
7. Improved Health
A healthy diet is much more beneficial than popping a supplement. Whole foods provide the nutrients that your body needs to function and thrive. Instead of using a vitamin supplement to make up for a poor diet, use it as a good insurance card instead: used only when needed. We would all benefit from cleaning up our diets and only reaching for supplements when absolutely necessary.
As you can see, you should always try to get your vitamins through food first. It is absolutely possible to get everything that you need from a well-planned and well-balanced diet. How do you ensure that you meet your daily vitamin needs? Through food, a supplement or both?